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Religions 2019, 10(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010039

Fancy Schools for Fancy People: Risks and Rewards in Fieldwork Research Among the Low German Mennonites of Canada and Mexico

Department of Education, The University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 9 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Education, Security)
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Abstract

In the 1920s, conflict over schooling prompted the exodus of nearly 8000 Mennonites from the Canadian prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan to Mexico and Paraguay; this is the largest voluntary exodus of a single people group in Canadian history. Mennonites—whose roots are found in the 1520s Reformation—are an Anabaptist, pacifist, isolationist ethnic, and religious minority group, and victims of a fledgling Canada’s nation-building efforts. It is estimated that approximately 80,000 descendants of the original emigrants have subsequently returned to Canada, where tensions over schooling have persisted. The tensions—then, as now—are rooted in a fundamentally different understanding of the purposes of education—and it is this tension that interests me as an ethnographer and education researcher. My research is concerned with assessing attitudes towards education within the Low German Mennonite (LGM) community in both Canada and Mexico. Too often academic research is presented as a tidy finished product, with little insight shed into the messy, highly iterative process of data collection. The purpose of this article is to pull back the curtain and discuss the messiness of the process, including security risks involved with methodology, site selection, research participants, and gaining access to the community. View Full-Text
Keywords: education; religion; Mennonites; methodology; ethnography; fieldwork; Canada; Mexico; transnational; security education; religion; Mennonites; methodology; ethnography; fieldwork; Canada; Mexico; transnational; security
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Sneath, R. Fancy Schools for Fancy People: Risks and Rewards in Fieldwork Research Among the Low German Mennonites of Canada and Mexico. Religions 2019, 10, 39.

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